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Talking Tactics

Alexander-Arnold playing with a point to prove

Adrian Clarke 9 May 2021

Adrian Clarke says Liverpool full-back is getting back to his best ahead of trip to Man Utd

Adrian Clarke looks at key tactical points in Matchweek 35.

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Trent Alexander-Arnold is rounding off a challenging campaign in outstanding form for Liverpool.

The 22-year-old has raised his game and reacted in a positive way to his surprise omission from the England squad in March.

In Liverpool's last five matches he has produced two fantastic assists. 

Against Arsenal he ran in behind and took advantage of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's lack of defensive awareness to deliver a brilliant curled cross for Diogo Jota to head in.

At Leeds United he isolated winger Jack Harrison when the hosts went man-to-man with their marking, making a forward burst before gifting Sadio Mane an easy finish.

He also scored the winner with a tremendous strike from outside the box at home against Aston Villa last month.

Alexander-Arnold against Villa

Alexander-Arnold boasts a cross accuracy of 20.1 per cent across the season, but he has bettered that figure in four of his last five Premier League matches.

He created five opportunities against Southampton last Saturday, providing key passes for Mohamed Salah, Jota and Mane.

Since the start of April, he has made 3.2 goal opportunities per 90 minutes, almost doubling his average up until that point in the campaign.

Alexander-Arnold season comparison
Per 90 Key passes Shots
First 27 PL apps 1.7 1.3
Last 5 PL apps 3.2 1.4

While Alexander-Arnold has not been as impressive this season as he was during Liverpool’s title-winning 2019/20 campaign, he has still been the Premier League's most effective attacking full-back.

He puts dangerous balls into the area considerably more often than any other player in his position. No defender makes more big chances, and he also has more shots than any other full-back.

Full-back comparison 2020/21
Shots Open-play crosses Big chances created Passes into box
Alexander-Arnold 43 Alexander-Arnold 176 Alexander-Arnold 12 Alexander-Arnold 362
James 32 Robertson 152 Digne 11 Robertson 274
Cancelo 32 Digne 131 Cresswell 10 Cresswell 203

The prospect of potentially missing out on a place at the European Championships this summer appears to have lit a fire within Alexander-Arnold.

His battle with Marcus Rashford and Luke Shaw down the wing at Old Trafford promises to be a high-quality affair.

When Salah takes Shaw infield, Alexander-Arnold will look to test Rashford with dynamic runs. He can punish Manchester United if he is not tracked.

Given his international ambitions and Liverpool's top-four hopes, expect him to have a significant impact at Old Trafford.

Also in this series

Part 1: How Mount has become an all-round Chelsea star

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